Boundary Waters Trip Reports, Blog, BWCA, BWCAW, Quetico Park

BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

July 23 2024

Entry Point 69 - John Lake

John Lake entry point allows overnight paddle only. This entry point is supported by Gunflint Ranger Station near the city of Grand Marais, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 69 miles. Access from Little John Lake. This area was affected by blowdown in 1999.

Number of Permits per Day: 1
Elevation: 1217 feet
Latitude: 48.0547
Longitude: -90.0569

2023 Pine Lake solo adventure

by Kayaktom
Trip Report

Entry Date: September 19, 2023
Entry Point: Pine Lake
Number of Days: 2
Group Size: 1

Trip Introduction:
After three trips to BWCA under my belt, and a rough year at work, I decided to make my first solo trip to enjoy the quiet. I wanted a zero-portage entry point so I landed on Pine, figuring at least one of the ten campsites would be available in mid-September.

Day 1 of 2


Tuesday, September 19, 2023 After spending the night at a Tuscarora Lodge bunkhouse (highly recommended!), I had breakfast at the Gunflint Lodge and made the long drive to the entry point at McFarland Lake. I got all my gear in the kayak and shoved off at about 10am. The weather was perfect with a breeze out of the east (more on this later). I saw a canoe with two women going the other way, and they said they just came off of Pine and that I would have the lake to myself and my choice of any campsite. So that was a relief, as I didn’t want to spend my day searching for a site on multiple lakes. I was very curious about the portage from McFarland to Pine during my preparations for the trip. Turns out it’s a short, narrow canal that I paddled right through. I didn’t even need to get out of the boat. I continued paddling with said wind at my back for a couple miles, passing a couple nice looking campsites. I had my sights on the site (734) near an island in a bay a little east of the midpoint of the lake. It was very highly rated in review sites and the Tumblehome podcast. I was pumped when I turned the corner and saw it was open. I landed the kayak and set up camp. The reviews were spot on, it’s a beautiful site. I got my hammock set up and put things where they needed to be as I was going to make this base camp for two nights. I had a quick lunch and then went out fishing and caught a few smallies near the campsite area. Didn’t do much else, and turned in for the night around 9.

 



Day 2 of 2


Wednesday, September 20, 2023 Today was all about fishing. I considered a trip to Johnson Falls, but the wind out of the east was picking up, and it would have been a brutal 5 mile paddle back to the campsite. The day was spent catching bass and trying for an elusive walleye (unsuccessful). The wind picked up throughout the day, and I was alone, so I didn’t venture more than a mile or two away from my site. The night was spent with a fire and listening to baseball on the transistor radio I brought. Interestingly, I was picking up stations from Chicago and Cleveland, but couldn’t get WCCO from the Twin Cities. The sun was down by 7:45pm, so it was another early night in the hammock. I headed out the next morning, fishing along the way. Thankfully the wind shifted and I had it at my back again as I paddled out. I caught some big and aggressive smallies in McFarland as I went back to the landing. Sadly, a nasty storm was coming in from the west, so I had to high-tail it back as past as I could paddle. It’s a good thing I did, because the rain and lightning started as soon as I closed all my doors. A great trip overall! I got a nice mental break from work and everything back home. Pine is a beautiful, huge lake. The campsite was amazing, and the smallies were biting. The wind on Pine is no joke, so I recommend getting out there early or late in the day.

 


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